Yesterday’s hike was a spectacular walk from Chinchero down to Urquillos with much of it along a magnificently reconstructed secondary Inca road. I’ve done this hike before, but it was especially beautiful this time thanks to the heavy rains which have saturated the region for several months.
Once again it was a bit of a “United Nations” experience with The Netherlands (Jildao and Mero — I hope I spelled her name corrected), Peru (Dorian of Cusco’s best Spanish school, Mundo Antiguo) and the US (me!) represented.
After a short 45-minute colectivo ride to Chinchero (3 soles or $1 USD), we gathered some food and drinks and headed off down the road which winds below the well-known Chinchero ruins. Despite the occasional dark clouds, we were fortunate to avoid any bad weather and the ladies even got a bit of extra sun.
The trail is almost all downhill with a few short uphill climbs along the way. Thanks to that nearly constant steep descent, my calves are surprisingly stiff this morning, but that means I got some needed exercise! It was more than worth it as the views yesterday were fantastic!
The highlight for most people is about 1/3 of the way down when we took a side trail along the mountainside towards a little known yet beautiful waterfall well off the normal trail.
I’ve been there before, but it’s especially spectacular during the rainy season. I thought for a moment that the two Dutch girls might get in the water despite it being SO cold!
A little farther down the trail we finally reached the bottom of the canyon where it was incredibly lush and green. I know I’ve said this before, but visitors who come during the busy season never know how beautiful it is here during the summer.
The trail along the small, rushing stream was almost tropical. Overhanging branches sagged under the weight of many leaves. For someone like me who loves the jungle, this was almost like going into my special place!
We continued on into the small village of Urquillos and even stopped to drink some chicha — a slightly fermented drink made form corn that is incredibly popular in the Andes outside of the cities.
The last few kilometers were fun, though everyone seemed to be getting tired. My favorite part was visiting with people as well as seeing all kinds of cute, friendly dogs along the way.
I should have taken more photos, but I’m always a little conscious about photographing people. (I doubt most would mind as long as I asked permission, but I’m still not comfortable with doing that yet.)
After passing through old hacienda farmlands and the community plaza de Armas, we finally made it to the highway where we caught a ride back to Cusco where I think we were all ready to rest after a great day’s hike!
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